2020 Rize-X: a couple of months with a lazy human

I posted here back in January about ordering an eBike and how I reached my decision to do so.  I’ve had that bike, a 2020 Rize-X, for a couple of months now- more than enough time to develop some opinions….

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My Rize-X on one of my slightly regular rides

The Bike

The Rize-X came to my door partially assembled. The wheels were pre-installed, but the handlebars, stem, seat, fenders, and rack had to be attached.  The process was simple and fairly quick: I was taking care, and it took under an hour to have the bike ready to ride. It does come complete with a functional multi-tool to help in the assembly, but it would probably have been good to have had a torque wrench with suitable hex attachments as well.

I’ve been impressed with the Rize-X from my very first ride.  After charging the battery, I turned the electronics on and set the bike’s ‘pedal assist’ at the maximum (9), and set out.  It was a blast!  Maximum assist means virtually zero effort for the rider- yes, you have to pedal, but it is kind of ‘placebo’ pedalling at this assist level.  More on that later.

The bike itself is extremely ‘solid’.  The gigantically wide wheels and tires are more akin to a motorcycle than a bicycle: the wheels are about 3” wide, and the tires are about 4” wide.  They run at fairly low pressure as well: 25 psi.  This combined with the front suspension makes for a fairly ‘forgiving’ response to bumps and the like, and taking the bike on gravel or dirt feels comfortable.  The frame is a boxy aluminum model, the welds all look robust to my eyes, and the riding position is both flexible (via the adjustable stem) and convincingly brutish.  

62908B81 A8E1 49F0 BB53 B1394BC2A7F4 1 105 cThe tires and wheels are definitely fat… hand included for scale

Nothing about his bike feels ‘fragile’: the maximum rider weight is identified as 300 lbs, but I get the sense that this is a conservative number.  The supplied seat is a reasonably comfortable gel seat by Selle Royale, and the seat post has a well-engineered ‘clamp’ type fitting that makes the height easy to adjust.  

The hydraulic disk brakes have excellent stopping power: my only complaint is that there seems be no way to adjust the ‘travel’ of the brake levers i.e.: how far  you have to pull before the brakes engage.  You can, however, adjust the reach of the levers.

This is a heavy bike: about 70 lbs with the battery installed, which weighs a good 10 pounds all by itself.  The rear mounted side stand is quite solid and works well, which is a step up from stands I’ve had on bikes in the past.  Speaking of the battery: it is a 19.2 Ah model encased in aluminum.   It provides something in excess of 60 – 80 km of range in my limited use- this is close to the 60-100 km range in the marketing material.  Range will depend on the level of pedal assist and the terrain you ride on.  

Talking about the pedal assist: this ranges from no assist at all (0) to ‘wheee!  Look ma, no effort!’ (9).  The 750 watt motor is rated at 80 nm or about 60 foot-lbs of torque: I can believe this, as at maximum assist it will push the bike and my 220 lb self up a 10% grade with zero effort accelerating to 25+ km/h.  The maximum speed regardless of assist level is 32 km/h without ‘jail breaking’ the control computer.  I have settled over the dozen or so rides I’ve taken on an assist level of 4 or 5: this makes the rides easy but not effortless.  

The gears and shifter on this bike are solid and thus far very reliable i.e.: when I choose the third or seventh gear, the shifter shifts without a lot of rattling or chatter.  The way I use the shifter, though, is kind of weird: the pedal assist is supposedly based on torque, but I often feel like I’m just spinning the pedals with zero resistance to keep the bike moving.  I shift gears to feel a little resistance, and then the bike accelerates- this results in a tendency to go faster and faster.  Finding a sweet spot to have a little resistance and the speed I want is still something I’m figuring out.

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Gears: 9 speed Shimano Acera

How the bike effects me

I’ve been riding several times a week, with a three week ‘intermission’ while I was sick (non-COVID sinus/respiratory illness).  I’ve not been terribly ‘interesting’ yet in terms of routes- basically, I have a roughly 10 km route I follow on local multi-use trails that works well for me.  I do have plans of loading the bike on my car and going somewhere different, but thus far I haven’t done so.

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Odometer showing just over 220 km ridden thus far

When I ride, I feel good: the eBike is fun to ride under pretty much every condition.  The route I follow has some pretty significant hills, but I love that I don’t even need to think of them- they aren’t an obstacle at all.  I get some exercise out of the process: with the pedal assist set to ‘4’, I do need to put out some effort to go up the hills at a good pace.  But at no point do I feel like I need to stop, dismount, and push the bike. 

I would say that the primary outcome of having the bike, thus far at least, has been a mental boost.  It isn’t making me ‘fit’: my weight hasn’t varied significantly as a result of my rides, and I haven’t suddenly started feeling healthier.  But I am moving when I ride, which is infinitely more effort than my usual ‘activities’ of working or playing on the computer. I suspect that, given time and consistency, I will gain some actual physical health benefits.

Overall, I’m happy with the purchase of this eBike: no buyers remorse has been experienced.  Just a sense that yes, I can get out and do something ‘physical’ while having fun, which is a good step in the right direction.

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A fun ride, and a bit of fresh air- good value for the money

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